Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Guest Post

Yes, its true

I fell in love with a shy seventeen year old girl who, at first, didn't want anything to do with me. She didn't tell you about the part where she had seen me before with my crazy long hair and decided I was absolutely not the kind of people she wanted to hang out with.

At the time I didn't know why I was so interested in the quiet, ethereally pale (like an angel spun from gold) girl I saw at that party. She wasn't my type at all. I was actually seeing someone else when I met her. I liked brunettes (where I grew up, everybody was blonde -- but it wasn't real). I liked older women (I've only ever dated one woman younger than me). I liked wild and crazy (I was a little wild and crazy myself -- but just a little). -- but every day of that year was was like falling down a hill that I didn't want to climb back up. So slight -- I could pick her up like she was a handful of feathers -- I had a dream that I threw her in the air and she flew away like a dandelion seed. She was always looking down -- with her shoulders rolled forward and her arms held close to her body or wrapped across her torso, hugging herself in -- nobody notice me! Her her hair was so long, so platinum bright, so light that it always flickered in the wind like a living thing. Even that first day at the beach, she sat on the sand with her knees pulled up tight to her chest, her chin nestled between her knee caps, eyes drilling into the sand -- so quiet, voice a murmur, body completely still. She never looked up, so I know she had no idea how that hair flew about her head -- a glittering cloud of diamonds, a halo. Every day that year, the little corner of my heart that fell in love with that painfully shy, almost perfectly innocent girl on a winter beach on the first day of the year, every day the little corner grew a bit bigger, wrapped a little tighter, and pushed everything else away.

In the beginning of our relationship there was an awful lot of chasing and retreating. I had to call her -- she didn't call me. -- but pretty soon I was calling her every day and it was the best part of the day. This was back in the dark ages, before the new-fangled "pocket phones" the kids carry these days, so we Navy peoples had to go to the call center, which was a room filled with little glassed in booths with a phone that you could use to call home. You had to use your A.TT card to pay for the call. I don't remember what the minutes cost, but I remember that I had a $300 monthly bill, more than once. I told her I loved her before she told me -- perhaps blurted is the correct word. Compulsive might be an accurate word. If you know us, you know the story of my magnificent wedding proposal. I wanted to get married a long time before she did. She thought she was too young to be married (if my daughter tries the same thing, I would have to agree), but I think it turned out alright. I was always pushing the next phase a little bit before she felt comfortable with it, but that was only because, from about the second week I knew her, I have always been sure -- there has never been a doubt in my mind -- this was the girl, this is the one.

Well, she was 17 on that first night and it's 20 years later, so we have both spent (literally) half of our lives together and I am absolutely sure that it has been the better half -- but it's not even half over yet, and I know it will just keep getting better and better. Now that shy, innocent girl has grown into a strong, confident woman. Someone I trust. Someone I admire. The person whose advice I value more than any other. A hot babe who still makes my heart race.

I can't say it's been the time of my life, because you are my whole life.
Always and forever : )


20 years

The year was 1988.

The date: January 31st. New Year's Eve.

It was 5 days away from my 18th birthday.

I had agreed to go to a New Year's Eve party that night.
I was not looking forward to it. I was not the party type.

I was shy and there would be few people my age(or that I would know) there, but it was also a surprise 30th birthday for my horse trainer's(C) husband(T) and I had promised her I would attend.

The party thrower wanted the birthday boy there at 9:00 p.m. sharp, and I drove over in the truck with him(T) and C.

T knew as soon as we pulled into the driveway that something was up, even though people had parked way down the street so he wouldn't become suspicious.

Some late party goers had pulled up at the same time we had, carrying gifts. He instantly knew that the party was for him, ruining the surprise. C was pissed.

We entered the house to the shouts of "Surprise!", and I instantly snuck into the kitchen so as not to draw too much attention to myself.

That's where the kids were corralled. Even back then I had always felt more comfortable around the children than with the adults, or even people my own age.
I sat down and started helping the kids with a craft project.

Pretty soon the kids began to get bored and wandered off into the garage to play Ping Pong, leaving me alone in the kitchen at the kid's table.

People came in and out of the kitchen to grab food and drinks, then drifted back into the living room or garage where the party was taking place.

I sat awkwardly in the kitchen alone. I wanted to go home. It was only 10:00.

Most of the party guests were in their late 20's and early 30's, and aside from C and T and some of T's family, I did not know any of them.

All of T's nieces and nephews were there. Most of them were under the age of 7.

Soon T's sister arrived(late as usual), with her children, a boy, 12, and a girl, 16. The boy headed out to the garage for a game of ping pong. T spotted me sitting in the kitchen alone, and quickly paired me up with his 16 year old niece.

We had met several times before, at various functions. I did not like her. I don't even remember her name. Let's call her "Alexis".

Alexis was loud and obnoxious and wore lots of makeup and tight, revealing clothing. She liked to be the center of attention and had had a boyfriend for a year already.

I was shy and quiet, slightly preppy, and liked to blend into the woodwork. I had never even been on a date or kissed a boy before, let alone had a boyfriend.

She dragged me into the living room, where the majority of the people were, and pulled me down on the love seat next to her, right in the middle of the room, facing the front door.

She talked(loudly) about school, and her friends and how she had just gotten her driver's permit. She confided to me that she had broken up with her boyfriend recently.

I mostly smiled, and nodded, and made the appropriate sympathetic sounds.

I don't know how long this went on. It seemed like an eternity. People continued to show up for the party. We had a bird's eye view of the front door, watching people arrive, bringing gifts for T.

T's good friends arrived, E and M, and T saw me sitting on the couch and asked me to come over and say Hi. I knew E, as he owned an R.V. repair shop and he had fixed my parent's RV many times. He had even come out to meet us on the road when our RV broke down on the way to a horse show. I had been to his shop many times.

With E was his wife and son, whom I had never met.

T came over and introduced them to me.

"Michelle, you already know E, but this is his wife M and their son Joe.

I stood up to greet them. Glancing briefly at Joe, I saw the most beautiful brown eyes. I shifted my gaze back to the floor then smiled shyly and inched backwards towards the safety of the love seat.

Alexis sprang up from the love seat and came to stand next to me, giving me a look as if to say "Who do we have here"?

T introduced Alexis to Joe.

She smiled flirtatiously and said Hi.

We stood in a small circle in the middle of the living room, Alexis standing very close to Joe, me with my arms crossed in front of me, hugging myself as if I were cold.

They chatted for a few minutes while I stood uncomfortably, staring at the floor and not following the conversation.

Joe turned to me and asked "Are you cold?". I suppose because of the way I had my arms wrapped around myself.

I sputtered "Uh, no. I'm not cold". I was wearing a turtleneck with a sweater over it.

He asked if either of us would like something to drink. I said No thanks, but Alexis told him she would love a Coke.

He left us to go into the kitchen in search of one and we made our way back to the love seat and sat down. He returned shortly with the soda for her and a plastic cup for himself. The love seat sat three people comfortably. Alexis shoved me over to the opposite end and invited Joe to sit in the middle with one of us on either side.

We were sitting very close together. Our thighs were touching

I was nervous. We made small talk for a few minutes. I noticed that Joe was turned facing me, with his back to Alexis, and most of his conversation was focused on me.

I thought that was strange. To me Alexis was pretty and social and experienced and why in the world would he want to talk to me instead of her?

After a several more minutes of being ignored, Alexis left the couch to wander into the garage, leaving us alone. This made me very, very nervous. I excused myself to go to the bathroom, hoping I could ditch him.

He was waiting for me outside the bathroom door.

Darn, but he was persistent.

I said I was hungry, and headed for the kitchen, hoping once again to lose him. He followed me.

I decided there was no way I was getting rid of him, so we stood in the kitchen chatting while I pretended to eat something.

It was getting close to midnight. People were starting to congregate in the living room to watch the ball drop on the television.

We stood among the throng of people, me nervously nodding and smiling and Joe making conversation.

Suddenly it was 5 minutes until midnight and we were watching the countdown on the t.v. begin.

At the stroke of midnight, as everyone around us threw confetti and yelled happy new year, Joe turned to me and said "You're supposed to kiss me now".

I froze. I didn't know what to do. He came closer. And closer.

And then he leaned in and kissed me. And I kissed him back.

My very first kiss.

I thought I was going to be sick afterwards. I excused myself to go to the bathroom again, where I took deep cleansing breaths until my heart rate returned to normal.

I went back into the living room where he was waiting and told him I was tired and maybe I would go home now.

He offered to drive me. I declined. I had brought my own car.

He said he would like to take me out on a date.

I told him that would be okay. We decided on the following day(New Year's Day), as he was on a week's leave from the Navy and would have to return to duty in a couple of days.

I didn't think he would call. I sat by the phone all morning though, hopeful that he would.

At 2:00 p.m. he finally called.

He picked me up shortly after and we went on our first date.

I was less nervous. We went to the beach and sat on the sand and talked and talked. When we were all talked out, he took me miniature golfing, then back to his house where we watched a movie.

We spent the entire rest of the day together. When he dropped me back off at home, he promised to call me the next day.

And he did.

And the rest is history.

We don't have any special plans for tonight. After the kids go to bed we will lift a glass of champagne and toast the journey that has been the last 20 years. It has been quite a ride.

I love you Joe. Happy Anniversary.
I'm so glad you took a chance and was persistent on that New Year's Eve night 20 years ago. I hope we have many, many more New Year's Eves to celebrate together.

This picture was taken a little more than a year after we met. 1990. My how we have aged! :)

Thank you to those that left a kind comment on my last post but I felt that I should take it down. I'm afraid I gave away too much personal information. The media has given it enough attention as it is and I don't want to add any fire to those flames. Thank you for keeping my friend and her children in your prayers. They are going to be facing a very difficult time in the months ahead and they will need them.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Random Update

Having a blast up in S.F. It seems like all we have done is eat though! Oh well, we are on vacation, right?

Here are some random pics:

We had heavy fog and a little snow on the Grapevine on our trip up.
Luckily not anything to give us any trouble. We expect to see a lot more snow on the drive back home, as there is a storm brewing tonight that is supposed to last until Tuesday or Wednesday, leaving more white stuff up that way.
Gizmo is loving the windows that she can see out of in Lisa and Scott's new house. She doesn't have access to any windows where she can actually see out of at our apartment. That's probably a good thing because she can be a yappy little thing, barking at anyone who walks by.

Scott and I went into Big 5 sporting goods while Lisa took Cameron to Toys R Us to return a toy that didn't work properly and Grace decided to lift some weights.
Lisa standing in front of the Ap.ple Store with her beloved I Phone. I swear she hasn't put it down since she got it. Seriously. I think she sleeps with it. She has more Apps on it than I have and I have had my phone for over a year!

We ended up driving(not walking) to it as originally planned, and this is why:
Grace insisted on wearing her "party dress", complete with Fairy Wings to dinner and it was too cold for her to go without a jacket so we drove instead of walked. Around the corner. The things we do for our children! :)

Cameron entertaining himself at the Ap.ple store.

Fairy Grace entertaining herself at the Ap.ple Store

Cute window at the Ap.ple store

I must have been very tired when I wrote this because I just re-read it and found several typos and I had typed "smog" instead of "fog". I had just woken up from my nap!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas 2008 and 26 months

You might want to grab a cup of coffee and settle in, because this is going to be a long one :)

Christmas 2008 turned out to be a fabulous one. Joe and I got up at dark o'clock(4:00 a.m.) on Wednesday to make the long drive up to San Francisco to Lisa and Scott's house.

Our plan worked because there was virtually no traffic to speak of and we arrived around noon and just in time for lunch.

We had a lazy rest of the day hanging around the house and then ordered Pizza for dinner.
I think this might become a new Christmas Eve tradition. No mess, no fuss, and yummy!

I hit the sack early, because I had gotten up early, and because Lisa and Scott warned me that we would be up early on Christmas Day.

Man, they weren't kidding about that. Lisa came in and woke us up at 6:30 to tell us that the kids were up and waiting for us in the living room to open presents.

Here are some pictures of Christmas morning.

Before the frenzy began. This was at 6:30 a.m. Yawn.
Cameron with his mountain of presents.
Grace with her mountain of presents. They both must have been very good this year. Heh.
Santa brought Cameron a skateboard ramp(which he plans on using as a bike ramp). Apparently Santa doesn't wrap his presents. I'm not sure why Santa brought Cameron anything at all, as he says he doesn't believe in him.

Mommy bought Cameron these foam swords.

Cameron and Daddy had to stop and have a sword fight before he opened more presents.

I am so thrilled with this present, as now around 12 million times a day Cameron asks me "Wanna have a sword fight"? And if my answer is "No" he whacks me with one of the swords.

Good times.

Thanks Lisa, for this magical Christmas memory.
Gracie got this really pretty TuTu(which now I realize you cannot see all that well in this pic),

and a Fairy Art Set.

Uncle Joe and I got Grace a gumball machine. Scott was thrilled with this gift.

Cameron got this K'Nex set, which he wants me to help him put together but Dude- I can hardly put together a puzzle and looking at all the small pieces in that makes me start to hyperventilate.

This looks like a job for Uncle Joe.

Buster doesn't know what all the fuss is about. All he knows is that he can barely fit on his favorite couch because of all these colorful boxes.

Lisa got her beloved IPhone, which she has not put down since she received it. Seriously. I think she may have slept with it. Also, she is going to kill me for posting this picture of her without makeup.

Cameron and Grace got this Uno game. It's a fun game and I really like playing it but Cameron and Grace both have the attention span of gnats and they won't play a whole game with me and Joe says he isn't an Uno type of guy so I have no one to play with.

This is what the family room looked like when it was all over. Carnage. Just looking at this picture gives me anxiety and I cleaned it up and vacuumed shortly after taking this picture and then I felt much better.Joe and Gizmo relaxing amongst the chaos.

Cameron got a new game for his Wii so this is how he spent a good part of the morning after opening his presents.

This is what he was staring intently at

Now on to the the important stuff.

My presents. Heh.

Lisa got me this makeup that is supposed to be really good for your skin but it came with a video to show you how to put it on.

A video.

To show you how to apply makeup.

It usually takes me about 15 minutes to apply my makeup in the morning and I'm lucky if I get powder and mascara on my face, so I am a little apprehensive about this. I'll let you know how it goes.

Lisa also got me this cool ornament. I have seen these on several other blogs and was thinking I should get one but never got around to making it to, so I was very happy when I opened this and saw what it was.

Lisa also got me a very pretty sweat suit set, scrapbooking software for my computer, and new slipcovers for our couch and loveseat(which we needed desperately).

Joe got me this pretty makeup bag filled with travel sized bath products.

He also got me this Chinese "Lion Dog" figurine, and these pretty Chinese nesting dolls.

As you can see, Sophie is never far from his thoughts, which is reflected in his gifts to me this year. I thought that was so sweet.

He also got me a bunch of bubble bath from and Bo.dy, one of my favorite stores. Their bubble bath is the best. I take a lot of baths.

Cameron also got a Nerf dart gun set, which Lisa also enjoyed playing with. Cameron is fond of shooting the darts at my computer and making them stick to it, so thanks Lisa for that too.
Last night Grace had a fever and fell asleep at dinner and Cameron accidentally punched his hand through the glass on the front door and cut his hand and was bleeding all over the kitchen.

Never a dull moment around here!

Both of them are fine today, by the way.

Lastly, Lisa found this website where you can digitally add a Santa to a picture of your house. So cool!

Of course I had to do it too. Hers looks more realistic. I think because my tree is so small. You can find it here: Capture the Magic.

Not sure if anyone is still reading after all of that.

It was a wonderful Christmas.

Today we are planning on walking over to the Ap.ple store so Lisa can get a case for her IPhone.
(Lisa and Scott live within walking distance of an App.le store. Can you imagine? How lucky are they? They can walk. To the App.le store. Awesome.)

Joe and I have two more days to relax before Lisa and Scott leave for a trip to Tahoe and we are in charge. Send good thoughts. :)

Lastly, today marks 26 months that we have been waiting for Sophie.

I have to have Faith that someday we will see her face.

That there will someday be a Christmas where she is here with us to share in all of this joy and craziness.

Some day.

Hope all of your Christmases were merry!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The True Meaning of Christmas

I may be offline for a few days as we finish up all of the last minute Christmas stuff and prepare for our trip.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Chirstmas and a Happy New Year.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Out of my Funk

What better way to snap out of a Christmas Funk than to go to Disneyland? I can't think of any. Joe and I headed there after work yesterday and we stayed until 11:00, when they closed. They practically had to kick us out. Not really. But almost.

Now I am done having my freak out and ready to soak in all the Christmassy goodness that the next 8 days have to offer. Bring it on! :)

Gosh, we had a great time. Now I am exhausted and it is raining outside and I plan on lounging around in my pajamas until Joe gets home from giving a Final and then we have an appointment later on but then we are going to come back home and have soup for dinner(Tomato Basil-yum), and watch a movie. Perfect day off.

Here are some pictures.

Waiting to go into the park on the Monorail. It picks you up at Downtown Disney. So cool!
It was chilly last night. Thus all the layers and gloves and scarves.

The Castle before it is lit up

Waiting for the Fireworks. We waited an hour so we could get good seats. They came and put this rope up after we had been waiting awhile and it was practically touching us and they said we had to stay behind it. Yeah right. As soon as they left we lifted it up and sat in front of it. Such rule breakers, we are.

The fireworks were stunning

The castle all lit up. So beautiful. It was so beautiful in fact, that I started crying right after it lit up and it started snowing on Main Street. I really don't know what is wrong with me lately. Really.

Right after I stopped crying.

It's a Small World Christmas

Asian themed wreath by it's a small world. Of course I needed a picture of that.

Rocks at the entrance to Tomorrowland.

Main Street

Haunted Mansion, "The Nightmare Before Christmas" style.

Jack Skellington

Decorations in New Orleans Square. One of my favorite places in D-Land

We saw this in a restaurant over by Haunted Mansion. It is a dessert made of a chocolate coffin with Jello blocks inside and gummy worms. Joe felt it was a bit morbid. Heh.
Self explanatory.
Matterhorn pics. Again. What can I say. We love that ride.

Beautiful lanterns on the Teacups. Love them.